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□ WHY TRAVEL COMPANIES SHOULD SPY ON YOU
It’s probably a matter of weeks, if not days, before yet another round of troubling National Security Agency leak stories hit the news. I’m sorry to disagree with a majority of Americans who are outraged by their government’s reckless data dragnet, but I think surveillance is good, at least, if you travel. Details are in my USA Today column.
□ WHAT DO YOU THINK?
Has the government protected travelers in 2013?
Do you feel as if the government has done a good job protecting travelers this year? Do the federal government’s consumer protection agencies, like the Federal Trade Commission and the Transportation Department, have your back? I’d love to get your opinion one way or another. Here’s my email address. As always, don’t forget include your full name, city and occupation.
Become a much smarter traveler
Pre-order my new book, How to Be the World’s Smartest Traveler (and Save Time, Money, and Hassle). It’ll help you navigate the ins and outs of the travel industry and save lots of time and money. Details are right here. By the way, if you’re heading out somewhere on a trip and need help with something, I’d be happy to email you a draft of a chapter, whether you order the book or not.
The stories you see in this newsletter are just a starting point. I hope you’ll take a minute to leave a comment, whether you agree or disagree with something I’ve written. Let’s continue the conversation on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or Google. I’m listening. And of course, I’m also here if you need me. Here’s my email address.
□ POSTS YOU REALLY DON’T WANT TO MISS
Secrets for getting the best customer service
It’s the proverbial man-bites-dog story for consumer reporters: an over-the-top customer service experience in which an employee goes the extra mile. Or maybe not? Find out in my Mint.com column.
Yes, you can still fight a bogus car rental damage bill – here’s how
Don’t mess with Barbara Kotzin. Someone should have warned Enterprise before she rented a Toyota Corolla from the car rental company earlier this year. Maybe it wouldn’t have sent her the repair bill, which Kotzin claims was bogus. Read the whole story.
Don’t like to wait around? There’s an app for that
Like many air travelers, Caitlin Ariens used to play it safe when she flew. She’d arrive at the airport two hours before departure to give herself enough time to check in and go through Transportation Security Administration screening. At this time of year, she might have added another half-hour, just in case she encountered a longer-than-expected line. But not this year.
Want to double your travel pleasure? Cut your itinerary in half
Eileen Ogintz started traveling with her kids Matt, Melanie and Regina, when they were babies, and she never looked back. She took her children everywhere, from exploring the Galapagos, to hiking in Montana, to sailing the Caribbean. Read more about one of the world’s smartest travelers.
How did 550,000 Hilton points become 55,000 Delta miles? And can you undo it, please?
When Gale Flake tries to convert his Hilton points to Delta SkyMiles, something gets lost in the translation. Can the conversion be undone? Perhaps it can.
Can Capital One really “erase” my debts? And while you’re at it, could you do another rant about loyalty programs?
When Capital One offers to “erase” part of her debts with award points, Kate Morrical calls on a loyalty program skeptic to clear things up. Find out what happens next.
□ MY PARTING SHOT
I’m so thankful for you, my readers, supporters and friends. You make the advocacy on this site possible every day. Words can’t fully express my gratitude. Happy Thanksgiving.